The United States is withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate accords, pollution lover Donald Trump confirmed today at a shameful event ironically held in the White House’s Rose Garden — complete with a jazz band.
The accords, which most of the world’s nations have agreed to, will remain in place, but the U.S. is abandoning the commitments it made under President Obama to reduce climate damage. Not to mention abdicating its moral leadership.
In advance of the announcement, elected leaders from Washington, Oregon, California, and other states vowed to continue state and regional efforts to tackle climate damage, saying that future generations are counting on us.
President Obama, clearly angered by Trump’s decision, released a statement asking forward-thinking states and cities to unite in defense of America’s values.
“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” Obama said.
“I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”
Eighteen members of the United States House of Representatives this week sent a letter to Governors Jerry Brown, Jay Inslee, and Kate Brown, requesting that that Washington, Oregon, and California form a “green wall” to stave off disaster.
“Given the vacuum in climate leadership that has resulted from the election of Donald Trump, our states must continue to form a ‘green wall’ in the West that will maintain climate leadership in the United States. The Paris Agreement calls for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and if Donald Trump’s administration won’t lead, our states must,” the lawmakers wrote. “We call on you to continue to uphold our commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and to show international leadership where the current Administration has failed.”
The letter was signed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Adam Smith (WA-09), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), John Garamendi (CA-03), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Susan A. Davis (CA-53), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), and Denny Heck (WA-10).
The governors, for their part, made clear they intend to do just that.
“Washington State is leading the way on climate issues where Washington, D.C., is failing,” noted Governor Jay Inslee in a statement preceding Trump’s dicta.
“The Paris Climate Agreement is a landmark international pact that represents our greatest opportunity to secure long-term U.S. and global economic security in the face of growing threats from climate change. One hundred and ninety-four nations have signed the agreement, one hundred and forty-seven have ratified it, and more than eighty percent of the world’s carbon pollution are now covered by its terms. Counted among the signatories are China and India, two of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, whose support for the agreement emerged through diligent U.S. leadership.”
“In Washington State we are taking action to reduce carbon pollution. We have implemented a cap on carbon pollution, and we will continue working with businesses and research institutions to develop and deploy twenty-first century clean energy solutions. We are also partnering with other states who are doing the same, and our states will not stop fighting for a clean energy future, regardless of who is in the White House.”
“Trump is going against science. He’s going against reality,” California Governor Jerry Brown told the Los Angeles Times.
“We can’t stand by and give aid and comfort to that.”
“If we want to retain and enhance manufacturing, we have to do what California is doing, in clean energy and clean technology,” the governor added. “That’s the future of jobs, the future of sustainability. And we better get on board. And California will be right there with the best of them.”
“Climate change poses the greatest threat to Oregon’s environment, economy, and way of life,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Oregon has a strong tradition of fighting climate change, and we will not back down. The consequences of climate change are already impacting our communities and threaten the long-term sustainability of our natural resource-based economies. Leading U.S. companies recognize the need to address climate change risks and opportunities through the Paris Agreement, and are wisely investing in low-carbon fuels and clean energy technologies to stay on the cutting edge of the global economy.”
“It is irresponsible for the president to deny these real-world implications. But I will continue to work with leaders on the West Coast, across the country, and around the world to address the challenge of climate change.”
“While Oregon is a small state, we can play a huge role in finding innovative solutions to preserve our natural resources, reduce carbon, and create a cleaner, and greener energy mix of the future.”
In a series of tweets, Hawai‘i Senator Brian Schatz called for action.
“Make no mistake, climate change is on the ballot for every election until we reverse this immoral action,” he said.
“I’m angry, not deterred. We will win this fight, but we must be smarter, tougher, & more relentless than the polluters and their friends.”
“The good news? Clean tech tax breaks still law — private sector booms. Clean energy won’t stop. Leadership from everywhere except POTUS.”
“Because the Agreement entered into force on November 4th, 2016, withdrawal couldn’t be completed until November 4th, 2020. So we gotta win.”
“Elections have consequences. The most important thing that anyone can do for the planet is to vote for and support Democrats in 2018 and 2020.”
“Remember this gut punch. Then run for office. Donate. Organize. Just do something. What happens next is entirely up to us.”